Have you ever thought about how much a teenager resembles a toddler? Now that I am smack dab in the center of the Teen years, I can’t help but notice that the two notorious stages are almost exactly the same, with a few delightful exceptions of course, such as when they scream “I hate you” to your face, now they actually mean it. Oh, and also, they steal all of your makeup just like when they were toddlers, only now they look way more fabulous in it than you do.
Another exception is that it’s way easier to embarrass them as a teen. My husband and I purposefully look for every convenient opportunity to embarrass the crap out of them. This is our main form of entertainment. Like the other day when hubby started rocking the Harlem Shake in the school parking lot in front Amanda’s (16) entire choir group. Oh yeah, you can’t buy moments like these, baby.
Speaking of babies, I’d like to officially announce that teens are exactly like them, and I base this profound statement on years of extensive research, mainly consisting of astute survival skills that I like to call, “Been There, Done That.” And this second Toddlerhood is way suckier. Here are 11 keen, totally science-based observations:
1. Wild Mood Swings and Temper Tantrums.
One moment Emily, 14, is laughing hysterically, and the next, she’s storming upstairs screaming “You just don’t GET me!” WTH just happened? Wait just a damn minute, I’m supposed to be the Shrieking Lunatic around here, not you!
2. Uncontrolled Crying Bouts.
Amanda, 16, spent two months trying to figure out a very gentle way to dump a nice, but incredibly dull, boyfriend. She was paralyzed with fear, but also desperate to get rid of him. Then I came home from work one day and found her curled up in a ball crying her eyelashes off.
“What happened!” I said, trying not to freak out.
“I finally dumped him!”
“Why in the heck are you crying? Shouldn’t we be having a celebration party or something?”
“Moooommmm, but I feel so bad!!”
I just don’t get it. If she had been a toddler, I would have given her a bubble bath and a pink lollipop and that would have solved everything.
3. Short Attention Span/Easily Bored.
Both girls whine and beg me to take them to the mall on Saturdays, and as soon as they drink their overpriced Frappuccinos, they are “like, so bored” and want to know what else we are going to do with our day. Well, people, this is pretty much it. Why is it my job to keep them constantly entertained? Oh wait, haven’t I been doing that since they were born? My point exactly. When do I get to retire from my career as Event Planner?
4. Nuclear Meltdowns.
Here’s an irrational meltdown of volcanic proportions, courtesy of my 14-year-old (and this actually happened): “Mom, I can’t find my Hipster glasses. I have to have them today!”
“I don’t care! We are already 15 minutes late for school, I’m going to get fired again, and those aren’t even real glasses! Let’s go, damn it!”
“Oh my god, you are so rude. You never understand. Colton is going to be staring at me at the lunch table today, and I have to look HOT, and now I’m not going to, and I don’t have any friends, and everyone hates me… (voice rises to banshee level, arms flailing, books hitting the floor, mascara running)… I CANNOT GO TO SCHOOL LIKE th….
Oh, wait, here they are in my backpack. Ok, let’s go.”
5. Half of What They Say is Incoherent.
By now, they have become such intelligent, articulate human beings whose language consists 100% of such earth-shattering utterances such as, “Mmmm”, “Meh”, “Duh”, “Whatevs”, “K” and “Huh?” This makes for stimulating conversation. Sigh. They’re growing up so fast.
6. Outrageous Growth Spurts fueled by Starvation.
Why is it that moments of sudden starvation occur at the most inconvenient moments, like when I’m in the middle of taking a shower or cleaning out the garage. Or how about when we’re on a road trip and we are 157 miles from any kind of civilization. “I just asked you at the last stop if you wanted a mini-pie.” “Mom, mini-pies are, like, really high in calories, and I going to die soon if I don’t get something to eat.” SHOOT ME. I’ve had to buy an entirely new back-to-school wardrobe every single year for 14 years straight. When does this weight-thing stabilize?
7. Demanding, Mouthy and Ego-centric.
Where did that sweet, pink tutu-wearing Disney princess go, and who is this obnoxious, mouthy woman living in my house? My girls are absolutely convinced that the world revolves around their every need, even though I’ve delivered about 50,000 speeches to the contrary. My speeches usually go something like this: “You’d better learn to hang up your clothes, and pick up your nasty dinner plate, and clean your pig stye room, because I’m not going to be your roomie in college. The sooner you learn these things the better, little missy, ‘yep, you’re in for a really rude awakening in the real world, blah, blah, etc.” Response: Dramatic eyerolls. See? They are the demanding and mouthy ones, not me.
8. Insisting on Doing everything Herself. Except when they Want Me to Do It.
This applies to everything…homework, room cleaning, dinner dishes, painting fingernails, lying to the attendance clerk, you name it.
9. Insane Sleep Patterns.
Amanda, 16, does not understand the concept of going to bed early. She is smart, makes almost straight A’s and can tell you practically every chemical formula on the Periodic Table of Elements, but she cannot comprehend this sleep thing. No matter how many speeches I give (see number 7 above), she continues to stay up texting until 2:00 am, and then constantly complains about being exhausted. Hmmmm, what a mystery. Reasoning with a toddler is easier than reasoning with a teen. Why? Because (1) A teen assumes you are an idiot from the very start therefore no listening is required, and (2) you can bribe a toddler with Skittles.
10. They DO NOT Want to Hold your Hand.
Or even walk within 30 feet of you. You are a hopeless dork, and you dress like a hopeless dork, and if they are ever actually seen with you, it will permanently damage their delicate Social Status.
11. They Dress Themselves in Homeless Person Couture.
Emily insists that a particular outfit is “Duh, the latest fashion” but, to me, it looks like it came from the Bargain Bin at Goodwill. Here’s how I think the retail thing works: After the astute fashion-degreed Retail Buyer buys the item at Goodwill, let’s say it’s jean shorts, she takes it to the local Monster Truck Rally and has the shorts run over a couple hundred times by the trucks, then she drags them through the dirt, and then she has 85% of the existing length chopped off. Then the Buyer sells the tiny butt shorts to American Eagle, whereby, my fashion-savvy teen then begs me to purchase them for the low, low bargain price of $57.50. That’s our free enterprise system at work, people. I miss the lady bug rompers from Walmart, which I’ll have you know, only costs $3.99.
There, I made my case. The Second Toddlerhood is way suckier than the first. Science tells us that the brain is still forming in the teen years and that is still undergoing some major reconstruction, which is the reason for the frequent childlike behavior. So the next time you completely RUIN her life, and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT, try not to take it personally. Instead, wait until the time is ripe for some sweet revenge. For example – and this is just a suggestion – sign up to be a chaperone at the Prom. Then do The Dougie in the middle of the dance floor like a beast. Good Times.